Christopher Rufo, the far right activist who intentionally turned a college-level school of thought to examine social structures for systemic racism into a fear-mongering right-wing nationwide panic, is now focusing his attacks on LGBTQ people, by effectively weaponizing transgender identity.
Rufo, a senior fellow at the right-wing Manhattan Institute, is the man behind the right’s false panic and fury over CRT, Critical Race Theory. He’s bragged he wants to “have the public read something crazy in the newspaper and immediately think ‘critical race theory,’” and “put all of the various cultural insanities under that brand category.”
Now he’s applying that model to attack the LGBTQ community – especially transgender people and drag queens.
Rufo wants the right to turn a commonly used phrase, “drag queen,” one that many people both gay and straight use to refer to themselves, into something “more lurid” and sexual.
“Conservatives should start using the phrase ‘trans stripper’ in lieu of ‘drag queen,'” Rufo said openly Friday on Twitter, despite drag queens not generally being transgender. “It has a more lurid set of connotations and shifts the debate to sexualization.”
He thinks the 1.6 million people across America who identify as transgender should be victims of his weaponization of their very being.
Rufo knows what he’s doing is twisting language into an attack, and admits that when he uses the word “trans” people think “transgender,” but he outright states: “we can say that ‘trans’ is a stand-in for ‘transvestite,'” which is a word not commonly used in decades.
“Drag queens in schools” invites a debate; “trans strippers in schools” anchors an unstoppable argument.
Let the Left try to nitpick the phrase: we can say that “trans” is a stand-in for “transvestite” and we can show videos that are undeniably strip shows.
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) June 17, 2022
And then he dares the majority of Americans who do not have an issue with transgender people to “engage in language games,” which is exactly what he is doing.
“Trans strippers in schools” is a powerful frame to this debate and, if the Left chooses to engage in language games on that phrase, they will find themselves defending concepts and words that are deeply disturbing to most people. Let them get stuck in the linguistic mud.
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) June 17, 2022
He even gives away his secret formula, while claiming the left is “very good” at this:
“The trick is to shift the language in a way that is factually accurate and has a plausible claim to neutrality, but attaches a new set of connotations to the concept that shifts the debate in your favor.”
Yale professor Jason Stanley, author of the books “How Propaganda Works” and “How Fascism Works”:
Rufo is also willing to cross moral lines that no US propagandist in recent times has been willing to cross, and this ruthlessness is also key to his particular genius.
— Jason Stanley (@jasonintrator) June 17, 2022
Pushback has been quick. Some are mocking Rufo and others making stronger criticisms, with a frequent theme that seems to be accusing him of telling people to lie:
Christopher Rufo’s whole thing is just randomly tweeting like “conservatives need to redefine broccoli as murder lettuce” https://t.co/19OS9PKYz1
— Steve Morris (@stevemorris__) June 17, 2022
just openly telling the right they should lie in order to manufacture hysteria https://t.co/XO9WxVspWv
— Current Affairs (@curaffairs) June 17, 2022
Most drag queens are cis men in costume doing female impersonation as a form of entertainment. You are fear-mongering about people literally playing dress up.
— Leah McElrath 🏳️🌈 (@leahmcelrath) June 17, 2022
We should start using the words “nazis obsessed with childrens’ genitalia” instead of “conservative thought leader.” It has a more lurid set of connotations and shifts the debate to these weirdos’ perverse obsessions! https://t.co/7eb7dB8g1b
— Ben Miller (@benwritesthings) June 17, 2022
An interesting thing about Rufo is instead of just quietly lying about things and pretending to believe them, he shouts from the rooftops, “HEY GUYS LET’S LIE ABOUT THIS. I’LL BET IT’LL BE EASIER TO WHIP UP A HYSTERICAL CULTURE WAR PANIC THAT WAY!” https://t.co/kBHGXlTirA
— Ben Burgis (@BenBurgis) June 17, 2022
Somewhat impressed by how open he is that outright lies and deception are among their most powerful tactics. https://t.co/Q4T50D3UPX
— Sturgeon’s Law (@Sturgeons_Law) June 17, 2022
Rufo, who before he pivoted to being a paid shill for racism and queer bashing was a paid shill for creationism, openly admits to lying and propagandizing to stoke fear and violence.
Will any of the media that credulously puts him on reconsider? I doubt it! https://t.co/mTHhGElcKb
— “Delta-8 Mom” on TikTok and Instagram (@RuckCohlchez) June 17, 2022
Using drag queens to further your goal of genocidal violence against trans people is NASTY work
I do not believe people like Christopher should ever be made to feel safe https://t.co/w4fMZIS2kN
— Terrance… (@iTerryTommy) June 17, 2022
This is evil shit. This motherfucker is outright evil. https://t.co/SVICy98TeS
— The Rude Pundit (@rudepundit) June 17, 2022
This is awful and evil. I encourage you to read this entire thread to see they are saying the soft part out loud — and they don’t care. We are going backwards and it’s scary as hell. I’m proud to know and work w/so many entertainers who are some of the best humans I know. ♥️ https://t.co/ROoThMDxwv
— Jason Matheson (@jasonmatheson) June 17, 2022
What a piece of shit https://t.co/teiLwkFagi
— Roger Sollenberger found true love, suckers (@SollenbergerRC) June 17, 2022
This dishonest creep just keeps telling the world OUTRIGHT how the right plans to attack and smear LGBTQ people. Twitter not only lets him do it, they’ve verified him. https://t.co/9rQWYiuczm
— Charles Johnson (@Green_Footballs) June 17, 2022
Rufo is so blatantly dishonest. Drag queens don’t usually strip and aren’t usually trans.They’re typically straight and gay cis men wearing women’s clothes who sing, dance or act, like Rudy Giuliani did. https://t.co/15UY5K7jZA
— Amy Fried 🌻🇺🇦 (@ASFried) June 17, 2022
These fuckers are literally dreaming up anti lgbtq propaganda out in the open https://t.co/JT6VxT0oVj
— Jason (@JLMillse) June 17, 2022
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Rep. Tim Walberg Tells Uganda to ‘Stand Firm’ on ‘Kill The Gays’ Law Ted Cruz Called ‘Horrific’
Representative Tim Walberg (R-MI) delivered a speech in Uganda to defend the country’s President Yoweri Museveni and the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023, better known as the “Kill the Gays” law.
Walberg traveled to Uganda in October to attend a national prayer breakfast organized by the Fellowship Foundation, also known as The Family, which also covered the cost of his trip, according to TYT. In the speech, transcribed by the blog Take Care Tim, he told the attendees to “stand firm” in the face of criticism.
“Whose side do we want to be on? God’s side. Not the World Bank, not the United States of America necessarily, not the UN. God’s side,” Walberg said. “I think as we go on here, it says, ‘So I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked, And I will redeem you from the grasp of the violent.’ – Who’s gonna do that? God is gonna do that. Your esteemed President, his excellency, President Museveni needs a nation that stands with him and says, though the rest of the world is pushing back on you, though there are other major countries that are trying to get into you and ultimately change you, stand firm. Stand firm.”
Walberg made it clear he knew his view would be unpopular in the United States.
“Now, this will probably get back to the national media in the United States, and I expect some pushback, but I’m not gonna give in to them. … I know that your President is a warrior. I like that about him. We’re in a battle, folks. We are in a battle,” he said.
Though Uganda has had homophobia enshrined in its legal code since it was a British protectorate, the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023 is a drastic escalation. Previously, homosexuality was punished with life in prison, according to the Advocate. The new law allows the death penalty for those convicted of “aggravated homosexuality.” It also bans “promotion of homosexuality,” much like Russia bans queer “propaganda”.
The law is so draconian that Republican Senator Ted Cruz—no ally to the queer community—condemned it. In May, shortly after Museveni signed the law, Cruz called the law “horrific” on X, formerly Twitter.
“This Uganda law is horrific & wrong. Any law criminalizing homosexuality or imposing the death penalty for ‘aggravated homosexuality’ is grotesque & an abomination. ALL civilized nations should join together in condemning this human rights abuse. #LGBTQ,” Cruz tweeted.
This Uganda law is horrific & wrong.
Any law criminalizing homosexuality or imposing the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” is grotesque & an abomination.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) May 29, 2023
Attempts to pass a similar bill to the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023 started in 2014, with a bill also called the “Kill the Gays” law. That form of the bill was built by anti-LGBTQ activist Scott Lively, who previously claimed then-President Barack Obama was secretly gay.
While it didn’t go into effect then, the bill and ones like it kept popping up on Uganda’s parliamentary agenda. Earlier this year, President Joe Biden threatened to cut nearly $1 billion in annual aid to Uganda if the bill passed.
A previous version of this story credited Salon with the initial reporting; Salon had republished the article from TYT. The sourcing has been corrected; NCRM regrets the error.
Federal Judge Issues Injunction on Idaho Anti-Trans Law Days Before It Takes Effect
A federal judge issued an injunction Tuesday against an Idaho anti-trans law that would bar prescribing puberty blockers to transgender youth.
The Idaho anti-trans law, House Bill 71, was signed into law by Republican Governor Brad Little last April, according to the Idaho Statesman. It was scheduled take effect on January 1, 2024. Providing gender-affirming care to minors, including puberty blockers, hormone therapy and gender-affirming surgeries would become a felony under the law. This is even though it is exceedingly rare for a person under 18 to be offered these type of surgeries, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill issued a preliminary injunction Tuesday, stopping the Idaho anti-trans law from taking effect in less than a week. Winmill said that the pending lawsuit filed by two trans minors and their parents will most likely succeed, citing the 14th Amendment, according to the Statesman.
“Time and again, these cases illustrate that the 14th Amendment’s primary role is to protect disfavored minorities and preserve our fundamental rights from legislative overreach,” he wrote. “That was true for newly freed slaves following the Civil War. It was true in the 20th century for women, people of color, interracial couples and individuals seeking access to contraception. And it is no less true for transgender children and their parents in the 21st century.”
Idaho Attorney General Raul Labrador told the paper he will appeal the injunction. Labrador claims “Winmill’s ruling places children at risk of irreversible harm.” The use of the phrase “irreversible harm” echoes the anti-trans book Irreversible Damage by Abigail Shrier. Shrier’s book endorses the since-debunked theory of “rapid-onset gender dysphoria.” The theory claims girls will declare themselves to be transgender as part of a “social contagion”—basically comparing transitioning to a fad.
Winmill, appointed to the Idaho district court in 1995 by President Bill Clinton, has recently ruled in other pivotal culture-war cases. This August, Winmill blocked Labrador from prosecuting doctors who send patients out-of-state for an abortion, KMVT-TV reported.
In August 2022, he also issued an injunction stopping Labrador from prosecuting ER doctors who provide an abortion in attempts to stabilize a patient, according to the Idaho Capital Sun, while a suit against the law.works its way through the court system. The injunction was overturned by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in September of this year, according to the Capital Sun, though the lawsuit itself is still pending.
Mike Johnson Likens Himself to Moses, Tells Christian Nationalists God Charted His Path to Speaker
Mike Johnson, delivering the keynote address to a far-right Christian nationalist group Tuesday, likened himself to Moses and declared God had charted his path to become the Republican Speaker of the House, after telling him in his prayers to prepare.
Speaker Johnson, a Christian nationalist who falsely claims the Constitution’s separation of church and state is a “misnomer” and has declared the United States is not democracy but a “biblical” republic, is an attorney who once worked for a far-right organization that has since been designated an anti-LGBTQ extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Johnson was the lead sponsor last year of a federal “Don’t Say Gay” bill and has bragged that he and his teenaged son are accountability partners in a no-porn pledge that includes installation of monitoring software on all their devices.
“I’ll tell you a secret since the media is not here,” Speaker Johnson said at the National Association of Christian Lawmakers (NACL) Gala (video below), where he was honored with their American Patriot Award for Christian Honor and Courage, as Right Wing Watch reported.
“Thank you for not allowing the media in, I’ll tell you a secret because they wanted to come because they wanted to, you know, take my comments out of context as they’ve been doing with with great joy for the last few weeks,” Johnson charged, not specifying which of his remarks he believes have been taken out of context.
“The Lord impressed upon my heart a few weeks before this happened, that something was going to occur,” Johnson continued. “And the Lord very specifically told me in my prayers to prepare, but to wait. ‘Prepare for what?’ I said to the Lord. You know, I had this sense that we were going to come to a Red Sea moment in our Republican conference and the country at large.”
“And look, I’m a Southern Baptist, I don’t want to get too spooky on you. Okay, but you know, you know okay,” he continued. “All right. But you know, the Lord speaks to your heart. And He had been speaking to me about this and the Lord told me very clearly to prepare and be ready. Be ready for what? Okay, I don’t know. We’re coming to a Red Sea moment. ‘What does that mean, Lord?’ And then when the Speaker’s race happened.”
He said, “the Lord began to wake me up through this three-week process we’re in in the middle of night and to speak to me and to write things down plans and procedures and ideas on how we could pull the conference together.”
“Now at the time I assumed the Lord is going to choose a new Moses. And oh, thank you the Lord. Lord, you’re gonna allow me to be Aaron to Moses,” Johnson told the attendees.
Johnson reminded his audience of the Speaker’s debacle, going down the line of friends who he tried to help become Speaker, acknowledging that all of them failed.
He continued, explaining that “at the end, when it came to the end, the Lord said, ‘Now step forward.’ ‘Me? I’m supposed to be Aaron.’ Now the Lord said, ‘Step forward.’ Psalm 77 speaks of the Exodus in the 14th chapter of Exodus and it says, ‘Only God saw the path through the roiling sea, we could not see it, men could not see it.’ And I believe deep in my heart, is my core conviction, that God wants us to seek Him for the path through the roiling sea.”
As Right Wing Watch reports, after Johnson’s speech, “NACL founder Jason Rapert presented Johnson with the Honor and Courage award, along with a piece of a destroyed Ten Commandments monument that Rapert had placed in front of the Arkansas state capitol in 2017.”
“’It’s very obvious to see, you’re one of us,’ Rapert told Johnson.”
Rolling Stone adds that Johnson’s speech Tuesday is “just the latest evidence that the politician who is now second in line for the presidency views himself as on a divine mission.”
Watch the video of Speaker Johnson below or at this link.
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